Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monterey Road Lumber Yard Fire Goes to 3 Alarms

Photo By SJFD PIO Cleo Doss
Shortly before 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, Cal Fire requested SJFD to assist with a lumber yard and firewood facility fire on Monterey Road. Located at 8149 Monterey Rd., the fire was burning just south of the San Jose City limits.   
The owner of Padula's Lumber heard some loud bangs outside his office at around 7:45 A.M. and rushed outside to find two of the buildings in the lumber yard heavily engulfed in flames. He quickly called 911.
When fire crews started receiving reports of a fire at a lumber yard on Monterey Road in the town of Coyote (south of San Jose, north of Morgan Hill), they knew exactly where to go and the problems they would face, having dealt with a fire on the same property in the summer of 2012. Once on scene, crews found several buildings fully engulfed in flames, and called for a second and then third alarm response. Additionally they discovered the hydrants in the area were dry, as they had been the previous year.
With a lack of water presenting a problem, Incident Commander B/C Jamie Norton of Cal Fire/Morgan Hill Fire called for multiple Water Tenders to respond to the scene, and proceeded to set up a water shuttle. Portable tanks were set up by the pumping engines, and a total of 6 Water Tenders from South County Fire, Gilroy Fire, Spring Valley Fire and San Jose Fire worked to maintain the water supply.
Meanwhile, the fire was destroying several buildings on the property, including the lumber yard office. An 1860s era Bunk House was badly damaged, and the next door former Union Pacific railway depot from the 1850s suffered several spot fires on the roof, but was saved by fire crews on the scene. Both the bunk house and the railway depot building were on the Santa Clara County Historic Buildings Registry.
In addition to the initial response and the Water Tenders, the IC called for a second and third alarm, with units from Gilroy Fire, San Jose Fire and Santa Clara County fire filling out those assignments, together with the first alarm responses from Cal Fire/Morgan Hill/SCC and San Jose.
Fire Associates members Don Gilbert and John Whiteside responded with Fire Support Unit 3 and set up rehab adjacent to the Command Post. They were joined on scene by FASCV members Dan Wong and Bruce Dembecki. FSU 3 provided plenty of coffee and cold drinks, along with a very popular supply of donuts.

By noon, the IC had released units from the visiting agencies, taking care of the remaining overhaul with South County/Morgan Hill units. Fire Support Unit 3 was released at 1:30 P.M. and back in quarters in San Jose by 2:00 P.M
  • Photos by SJFD PIO Cleo Doss can be viewed at:  Lumber Yard Fire
  • A San Jose Mercury News story, with ABC7 video, can be read at:  Lumber Burns
-- Report provided by Bruce Dembecki